If you like sex, your sexuality is a significant aspect of who you are and how you feel about yourself.
It is important to your well being to experience a healthy sex life either alone or with a partner or spouse.
You, as an individual, must decide how you want to express your sexuality.
A healthy sexual encounter or relationship is based on mutual attraction, desire, shared interests, trust, empathy and intimacy.
Sexual intimacy for many people is an integral part of their emotional connection in a primary couple or marital relationship due to its propensity for pleasure and enhancing your bonds as a couple.
Too often, when a couple’s emotional connection wanes so does the sexual intimacy which can further the sense of disconnection in the relationship.
Sometimes, I encounter clients who are confused as to what is more important in their couple or marital relationship,…..emotional connection or sexual intimacy?
For many people, they are interconnected and it is beneficial to attend to both in the couple or marital relationship.
Some people have little or no sexual desire and that is ok if it is a matter of choice.
This may be a long standing problem or something that has developed as the result of worries, increased stressors, significant events, sexual abuse or assault, medications, medical conditions or something else that is problematic.
Sometimes one partner or spouse may have poor self esteem or body image, may be overweight, out of shape or feel unattractive which may diminish their sexual desire or their partner’s.
Sometimes, one partner or spouse will make the other feel as if something is wrong with them, if they have a greater interest in sex or want to have sex more frequently.
The partner or spouse with the least sexual desire tends to control how much sex or sexual intimacy there will be in the couple relationship.
This can be a source of frustration and conflict for both partners or spouses, unless the couple can find a way to bridge the differences in their desire and intimacy.
I find many couples have difficulty discussing sexual interests and sexual intimacy when things are not going well.
If things are not discussed and worked out the partner or spouse with the greater interest in sex can feel like they must find another way to get their sexual needs met.
This may be by looking at pornography and masturbating, engaging in sex talk on-line, hooking up with someone for sex or having an ongoing emotional or sexual affair with someone.
If the couple relationship is in an exclusive or monogamous relationship, this emotional or sexual outsourcing on the part of one partner or spouse, if discovered may be a betrayal that is traumatic for the couple relationship.
For people in open couple relationships or marriages, this may not be a problem since they have an agreement that it is acceptable to be involved emotionally or sexually with others outside their primary couple relationship.
In open couple or marital relationships involvement with others outside the primary relationship must be consistent with the rules of engagement they have established and agreed upon by the couple.
In addition, people who are into polyamory relationships are also able to be open about their involvement with others and may or may not have a primary couple relationship.
They are transparent in their involvement with others whether emotional or sexual about being polyamorous in their relationships with others.
This allows them to be involved with like minded people, who find monogamous couple relationships too constraining.
Sometimes, people in monogamous couple or marital relationships feel, for a variety of reasons, that this is the only valid model for a couple relationship and way to express their sexuality.
However, other people may subscribe to different relationship models as described above, feeling they don’t want a primary couple relationship and they wish to express their sexuality in ways that make sense to them and those they engage with.
Some clients I encounter in my practice indicate they are sexually inhibited, feel guilty or shame regarding their sexual desires or practices which can impact the way they feel about themselves and their sexual intimacy with a partner or spouse.
This may be the result of a family of origin that never discussed sex, parents who weren’t affectionate or sexual or were perhaps very religious or negative about sex.
Sex, for some people, may be viewed as only a means to securing a partner or having a couple relationship, in order to have children.
However, our sexuality is a primary biological drive that goes beyond reproduction purposes and can be a healthy, creative, fun and meaningful experience of pleasure.
Unconventional, Alternative or Kinky Fantasies and Sexual Practices
I see many clients in my practice that are involved with unconventional, alternative or kinky sexual fantasies and practices with consenting adults.
Erotic fantasies are a private matter and may be played out only in your mind or acted out with a willing partner.
Erotic fantasies and dreams may involve socially appropriate and inappropriate thoughts, images, scenarios, stories, art, people and other sexually provocative material that creates sexual desire, arousal and climax.
If you have unconventional or alternative sexual interests, fantasies or fetishes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a sex problem or sex addiction, as long as you are engaging with consenting, competent adults and not involved in illegal sexual activities.
This may involve looking at varied kinds of internet pornography, erotica, sexual fantasies, having sexual fetishes, cross-dressing, engaging in dominance or submission, humiliation, bondage, discipline, water sports, pegging, anal sex, oral sex and various kinds of sexual role plays and scenarios to mention only a few aspects.
Unfortunately, some people who engage in sexual practices may have feelings of shame or guilt even though, they have a strong desire for unconventional or kinky ways of expressing their sexuality.
This may be due to their family of origin or significant events that occurred during their sexual development, as well as, due to the judgment of other people and society.
Some people view unconventional or alternative sexual practices as being unacceptable, perverted, pathological, dangerous, disturbing, disgusting, or illegal even though individual’s and couples are free to express their sexuality within the law any way they choose.
I do encounter clients who may develop problematic sexual practices, meaning they are engaging in a sexual activity that may be considered unfavorably by a partner or spouse, or as a betrayal in a monogamous couple relationship.
The problematic sexual behavior may be conventional or unconventional, legal or illegal and may have negative consequences in their lives.
Sex as a mood altering activity is not only a intense form of pleasure but can also function for some people as a primary coping mechanism that result in consequences that impact their lives.
While these sexual practices might not appeal to everyone, what people consider to be erotic can be pretty creative and expansive.
Anyone has that has looked at erotica and pornography available on-line knows there is a wide range of things to explore.
Many individuals and couples who are open to exploring and playing out their sexual fantasies and scenarios find it fun and enriching for their sexual intimacy and emotional connection.
Depending on your own values and personal views, there is not necessarily something wrong with exploring and pursuing your sexual desires.
As long as people are involved with consenting adults and are not engaging sexually with minors or children, as well as, not physically harming someone, expressing one’s sexuality is a matter of choice.
Copyright 2017, Healthy Sexuality by M. Douglas Evans, All Rights Reserved.